The European Commission (EC) has opened a new debate, proposing a major extension to its Universal Service Obligations (USO), which would mandate that broadband be provided to every European household by 2010.
UK regulator Ofcom has frequently shut down similar debates over this side of the channel, preferring to stick with a laughably outdated policy requiring BT to support a dial-up speed of at least 28Kbps.
However the old obligation, which demands that a fixed line be good enough to support "functional internet access", may no longer apply to such a slow connection. Modern Internet usage, even websites, often requires far more bandwidth than that of a few short years ago.
Back in 2003 European broadband usage stood at just over 10%, which compares with 36% today and an annual growth rate of 20%. Naturally operators are unlikely to be happy with being forced to shell out masses of cash to cover remote locations.
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